Skip to main content

What is Avian Flu?

Audio file
What is Avian Flu and what do you need to know about it?
On this page

Avian flu has been reported in some Canadian provinces, including southern Quebec. Reported cases involve commercial flocks and wild birds. The risk of people catching Avian flu from a bird is very low. However, the virus can easily spread between birds.

It is still safe to go hunting during Goose Break. The following precautions are recommended for hunters and their families, to protect their harvest against the risks of Avian flu. 

What is Avian Flu?

The Avian Flu (also known as H5N1) is a flu virus that affects wild birds and poultry,  potentially causing illness and death.  

  • The virus can spread between birds through their mucous, saliva or feces.
  • It can also spread to birds via contaminated surfaces and materials, including people’s clothing, shoes, or hands. 
  • Domestic birds are more vulnerable to Avian flu than wild birds.  
  • People who raise chickens or have pet birds should follow recommended precautions. 

The risk of people catching Avian flu from a bird is very low, but they should be cautious when handling wild birds.

There is a risk for people when a flock is infected, because, in very rare circumstances, the Avian flu virus could “jump” from a bird to a person.

This can happen in two possible ways: 

  • Being in close contact with an infected live or dead bird.  
  • Being exposed to an infected dead bird or contaminated environments (while handling fowl, through contact with body fluids during butchering, processing and preparation).  

Information about Avian Flu

Precautions to take

Call your local CTA office if you find a sick or dead bird. Sick or dead birds can be submitted for testing. Your local CTA office can assist with this. 

Domestic birds

Our Partners

Grand Council of the Crees logo
Santé et des Services sociaux logo
Health Canada logo